LONDON - As part of its VOC Compliance Campaign, the British Coatings Federation (BCF) hosted a training session for Trading Standards Officers. The day saw representatives from eight local authorities across Scotland attend the training session to learn about the VOC Directives and the role of Trading Standards in enforcing the regulations relating to identifying the differences between solvent- and water-based automotive paints. This was followed by a tour of LKQ, a vehicle refinish distributor, to see first-hand these differences.

The regulations preventing the use of solvent-based basecoats on cars is now 10 years old, but despite widespread noncompliance, there have been no prosecutions. An estimated £30 million of UK basecoat sales are still solvent-based, which creates a non-level playing field for distributors and body shops that have invested in water-based technology.

The BCF’s compliance campaign started nearly a year ago, with the aim of stamping out solvent abuse in the vehicle refinish sector. The work with Trading Standards Officers is the next part of the initiative, following a series of mystery shopping exercises at 100 vehicle refinish distributors to gather evidence on the abuse of the regulations, the results of which are to be announced shortly.

Tom Bowtell, Chief Executive of the BCF, said, “I’m delighted that there was such a strong interest in this issue in Scotland. The law is almost impossible to enforce at a distributor level because stocking the solvents is actually legal, but the exemptions for the uses have resulted in abuse. Educating Trading Standards Officers will be key to making sure the regulations are enforced. There was a great enthusiasm from last week’s attendees, and I look forward to working with them and other Trading Standards representatives from around the country to stamp out the illegal sales of solvent-based basecoats.”